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More snow, more gold for the Russians

Snow-boarders and skiers skidded and slid sideways Tuesday as heavy snow continued to wreak havoc with this Olympics. Inside, though, Russian figure skaters also found the ice to their liking.

Russians continued their domination in pairs figure skating, winning the gold medal for the 10th straight Olympics as the first medals were handed out in the Games' glamour sport.Artur Dmitriev became the first man to win Olympics with different partners as he and Oksana Kazakova skated with passion and power in the final performance of the late-night program. Russians finished 1-2 as Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze took the silver, followed by Germans Mandy Woetzel and Ingo Steuer. Americans Kyoko Ina and Jason Dungjen were fourth.

On the ski slopes, meanwhile, they were barely racing at all.

"It was chaos," said Austria's Hermann Maier, a ka "The Herminator," who nearly fell before finishing a disappointing eighth in the slalom portion of the men's combined. "It was too difficult. I've never seen anything like it."

It was hard to tell who was more upset as the Olympics were enveloped for yet another day in a deep blanket of white: Those who got to play in the 2 feet of new snow or those who didn't.

"You want snow because it's a winter event, but it's like, `WE'VE GOT ENOUGH NOW, THANK YOU,' " U.S. skier Picabo Street said after postponement of the women's super-G left her with little to do other than watch flakes the size of 5-yen coins fall around her.

While skiers were frustrated by a third day of heavy snowfalls, the high hopes of U.S. women snowboarders were shattered as, one after another, they tumbled down the slopes in the first round of the giant slalom.

The four boarders blamed "death cookies" - ice chunks mixed with powder snow - and questioned whether the race should have even been run under the conditions.

"It's a terrible showcase for the sport," snowboarder Lisa Kosglow said. "The women are not this bad."

So far, terrible has been the operative word for the U.S. performance in the Olympics. While Russian cross-country skier Larissa Lazutina gave her country its 100th Winter Olympics gold medal by winning the women's 5K classical, U.S. athletes were still looking for a medal of any color.

MEN'S COMBINED SLALOM: It wasn't only the U.S. women snow-boarders who couldn't keep upright. All three American skiers failed to finish their two runs. Matt Grosjean of Aliso Viejo, Calif., was third after the first run, but buried his head in his hands after missing a gate on his second trip.

Austria's Mario Reiter was the leader after the first part of the combined, followed by Lasse Kjus of Norway and Andrzej Bachleda of Poland. Maier, the world's top skier, was more than 4 seconds behind, a nearly insurmountable margin going into Thursday's downhill portion.

SPEED SKATING: Shimizu blazed from the start to win before an adoring crowd in the M-Wave arena, breaking the Olympic record of 35.76 seconds he set in the first run a day earlier. Admittedly nervous, he overcame one false start to finish in 35.59 seconds for an aggregate time of 1 minute, 11.35 seconds. Jeremy Wotherspoon won the silver, and fellow Canadian Kevin Overland took the bronze.

U.S. hopes for a medal faded as Casey FitzRandolph had to wait through three false starts before his run dropped him from third place to sixth.

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING: The victory by Lazutina was made even sweeter after frustrating near-misses at Albertville and Lillehammer. Lazutina sliced through heavy snow, then broke down in tears when her win was assured. Katerina Neu-man-nova of the Czech Republic was 4.8 seconds back for the silver, and World Cup standings leader Bente Martinsen of Norway was third.

SNOWBOARDING: While the Americans fell, French favorite Karine Ruby cut through a steady snowfall to win the first Olympic gold medal in women's snowboarding in a combined time of 2 minutes, 17.34 seconds. Germany's Heidi Renoth took the silver in 2:19.17, and Austria's Brigitte Koeck got the bronze in 2:19.42. Ruby, 21, won France's first medal of the Nagano Games and the first French gold of the Winter Games since 1992 in Albertville. Holding a lead of 1.96 seconds after the first run, she had only to complete the second to hold on for the victory.

LUGE: Germany, which already won a gold in the men's luge, threatened to make a clean sweep in the women's event. Silke Kraushaar was in first place after one run on the Spiral course, as Germans occupied three of the top four spots.